GamCrowd spoke to Mike Hennessy, Shopworks director of operations, on why this London-based software business is doing so well by providing a staff scheduling tool that is focused on the gambling industry. Here are his top tips for success in supplying the gambling industry.
The key to Shopworks is understanding the issues the product solves
We are all operators in the Land based gaming space. We have all employed and managed staff in retail gaming and we have built a staff scheduling tool that meets customer requirements because we all understand the issues. The first Shopworks system was built for Better in 2009 which was run by Ian Hogg who now works in the business. The first major customer was Paddy Power in 2010 and the business analyst who managed that implementation, Malcolm Moody, now works for us.
Shopworks has made fantastic in-roads in the UK
We supply around 50% of the Casino, AGC, Independent betting shops and bingo customers in the UK as well as operators in the EU and the USA. Our software has been built to help these organisations manage their staff more efficiently. Our system does everything that a non-gambling specialist scheduling tool does but we also do lots of functionality that is designed specifically for retail gaming operators. This ranges from social responsibility tracking to integrating into a casino’s table management system to ensure the correct staffing levels are scheduled to meet demand.
Innovation is at the heart of the business
I think we try harder; we are still growing our business and we say yes to pretty much every customer request. Also we always offer customers a free trial – if we can’t deliver on our promises then we don’t bill the customer. That really forces you to innovate both because we need to find efficient ways to deliver new functionality and because our customers are great innovators and drive us on. Some of the really big software companies like SAP and Oracle that we compete with would struggle to offer that level of flexibility, they also offer many software types to pretty much any industry vertical. We focus on staff scheduling for the gambling industry, which are two things we know a lot about so we can really advance that niche.
Shopworks saves money on a company’s staff costs…
The Shopworks system helps people save money on their staff bill by making roster planning more efficient, checking staff costs against budget before they are approved and avoiding ‘ghost hours’ through biometrics. We saved one bingo operator 12% of their annual staff bill and we save operators an average of 7%. The key driver for our growth is the increase in staff costs driven by governments around the world. In the UK the national living wage will be £9.50 by 2020 an increase of 42%, adding in the apprentice levy and auto enrolment pensions will see staff costs rise by around 50% by 2020. For most land-based operators such as bookmakers, AGC’s, Bingo Halls and Casinos their biggest cost is the wage bill and these new increases are making operators look really closely at this cost.
… But the product also drives revenue enhancements
We save money where people have too many staff or are overpaying for hours not worked but we drive revenue where people have too few staff to meet demand. A great example of this is managing dealer numbers for roulette tables. A roulette dealer becomes less efficient when there are more than 5 customers on a table because of the management of customers and chips. The service for the customer also gets less than optimal as they get less spins per hour, it is always more efficient to open another table and pay for another dealer when there are more than 5 players on a table. By integrating the staff scheduling system into a table management system we are aware of how many dealers are on site and we can also see how busy the tables are. Our demand module and live dashboard help casinos manage their dealer levels to the optimal level and maximize revenue on table games.
Customer demand can drive new product wins
Keep saying yes to customers and build what they want. Our best innovations have been customer led but it takes a bit of faith to go that route. We are always a bit nervous building new functions as we don’t always know if there will be enough customers to justify it, but having watched our system evolve over six years when we present it to new operators they can’t believe how it deals with their requirements and that is because we kept saying yes to customer requests.